A City a Day: In Bruges (A Guide)

When we were planning this trip, we had a real dilemma about whether to go to Bruges or Ghent (or both!). We didn’t have much time to explore every city since we only had a little over a week off from school, so we really had to prioritize. We had already planned one day in Luxembourg and one day in Brussels, so we decided to book ourselves for two nights in Ghent to give us a buffer day. If we made it to Ghent early in the morning and had all day to explore, then we could see Bruges the next day. But if we arrived late from Brussels, then we’d have to skip Bruges and use that extra day to enjoy Ghent.

Luckily, we planned everything out really well and could fit in both Ghent and Bruges – I am so happy we did! Pretty much everyone I had spoken to said that Bruges was a must-see, but one of the girls we were travelling with had already been and said it wasn’t that great. Her friend, who was currently living in Belgium, had recommended Ghent as a better, less-touristy option. While Bruges was definitely more crowded and more catered towards tourists, it was worth the visit. It is very small and easy to see within a day or two.

It is very easy to get from Ghent to Bruges. It was about a 30 minute train ride and only cost us €6 each way. To get to the main center from the train station, just follow the crowds and go towards the towers you see in the distance. Along the way, you pass some beautiful parks.

Center of Bruges in Relation to Train Station

Main Center of Bruges

‘t Zand Square Fountain

Near the concert hall, you will find one of the beautiful main squares with the ‘t Zand Fountain. It is a lovely square to people watch and enjoy the day, or to grab lunch with a nice view. Although, from what I understand, we REALLY lucked out with how nice of a day it was… it’s not common to be sunny here. So be prepared with a jacket and an umbrella, just in case.

After enjoying ‘t Zand, head back towards the center in the direction of the towers in the distance. Bruges is rather small, so it only takes about a 10 minute walk to get anywhere. We didn’t even use a map while we were here until we needed to go back to the train station.

As you wander around, you will find the many famous canals of Bruges. There are many canal boats that give you a short tour of the city, and it runs at about €8 for 30 minutes. We are glad we invested in the journey, it was very beautiful and informational.

Since we didn’t know if we were going to make it to Bruges or not, I didn’t do any research beforehand. However, we were easily able to wander around the city and come across the main sites.

Near the Market Square, you will find the famous beer wall. If you like beer, this is definitely worth a visit! They have a long wall dedicated to Belgian beers with their accompanying glasses. They have a small bar where you can do beer tastings, and a lovely patio where you can sit next to the canal and sip a cold one, watching the boats go by. They also have a large store with souveniers and tons of beer that you can stock up on. Don’t miss this! I was dying to do a tasting, but there was a long line and we wanted to make sure we saw everything else.

A short walk from the beer wall is the Belfry tower and main square of Bruges. It is such a picturesque square, and it is definitely worth spending some time at. We had lunch at one of the restaurants along the side that advertised 3 courses for €15. It was good, but nothing to rave about. We repeated the delicious waterzooi and stew that we had tried in Ghent, I highly recommend them both!

After lunch, we ventured up into the Belfry tower. Be prepared for a line! We probably waited at least 30 minutes to get in. And a warning – the steps to go up this tower are extremely narrow, so if you are afraid of this sort of thing you should probably re-think going in. It is one way up and one way down, so often someone has to squeeze tightly against the wall to let other people pass in the opposite direction. It is definitely a trek! But there are some very nice views at the top. Another thing, once you get to the top the wind is INSANE. Don’t wear a dress… =X

Near the main square is a Godiva store, so we decided to check it out. You can never go wrong with Belgian chocolate. I asked the lady for her recommendations, and ended up with the following. The latter was an actual cherry (with the pit inside) covered in chocolate and sprinkles. It was a nice change from the fake type you can get back home in a box!

That afternoon, we wandered aimlessly through the charming streets and then took a walk through the park back to the train station. Something about rivers makes everything prettier!

So, what’s the verdict? Bruges or Ghent? While I loved Bruges and was glad that we made time for it, I think I honestly prefer Ghent. It just had a smaller town charm, and lots of life wherever you looked. And the views from the Belfry in Ghent are just breathtaking.


A City a Day: Luxembourg, a Fairytale City (A Guide)

This will be my first Guide Post, so let’s see how it goes! Before my most recent trips, I have spent hours and hours researching and planning everything, and instead of just throwing everything away when I’m finished, I figured that this information might come in handy for others interested in visiting these places. Below, I will not only share pictures and personal experiences, but also include names of restaurants, hotels, museums, etc. that I researched and might be of use for those coming to visit. If you have anything you think I missed, please feel free to let me know in the comments! I will also link to informational websites that describe each site further.


I don’t know how we did it, but we found really cheap flights to Luxembourg during Spring Break (we paid €45 one way). If we had left on any other day, the prices shot up to over €200… insane! You really have to do your research if you want to include Luxembourg on your itinerary if you don’t want to pay a fortune.

We arrived at around noon, and it was a rainy day. The rain normally wouldn’t bother me too much, but it was also EXTREMELY windy… it was almost pointless to use an umbrella because it kept either flying away or getting blown upside down. In fact, all of my friends had to throw away their umbrellas at the end of the day because they were ruined. But, no matter… we weren’t the type of people to let a little rain and wind ruin our day!

In my research, I read that it was pretty easy to catch a bus from the airport and take it straight into the city. In front of the bus stop is a machine where you can buy tickets, and a short term ticket costs €2. We bought our tickets only to find out that buses were free on Sundays =X No matter… Also, we were told to take Bus #9 and it would take us very close to where our hostel was. However, when Bus #9 arrived, it drove right past us and a group of at least 8 other people… wtf? We ended up hopping on a different bus and getting a transfer in the city center.

There is only one hostel in Luxembourg City, and it’s actually a pretty nice one: Luxembourg Youth Hostel. It is HUGE, and looks more like a hotel than a hostel on the outside. It was very clean, and we only paid about €25 for the night. Plus breakfast was included! Can you get better than that? Yes, you can! We paid to have a 6 bed dorm, and there were 4 of us. I emailed the hostel asking if we could be placed in the same room, and to our surprise they upgraded us to a 4 bed room so we could have our privacy. The staff were also extremely friendly. I highly recommend it!

The hostel is right down the hill from the main road that takes you into the city center. It is a little bit of a hike to get back up, but not too bad. The views as you cross the bridge are also incredible. Unfortunately, there was a lot of construction going on… one entire bridge was covered in ugly steel and tarps. And there were cranes everywhere. But it was still unbelievably beautiful, even in the rain.

As you cross the bridge, you will pass by the Casemates du Bock, which are basically old passageways carved into the mountainside. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to explore all of them, but you will find them throughout the city and they are highly recommended to see.

One of the first things we came across was Saint Michael’s Church, which was unfortunately under construction on the outside. I’d recommend having a peek inside, I really loved the unique stained glass.

We were starving after all of that travelling (woke up at 4am and got to the hostel around 2pm), so we started out immediately trying to find a place to eat. One of the first restaurants we came across was a lovely French cafe called Le Friquet’s (1, rue Sigefroi, L-2536 Luxembourg). We arrived pretty late, so we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. They were advertising their plate of the day, which appeared to be chicken. We were all going to order it when luckily the waitress warned us that it was basically stuffed chicken intestines… I’m all down for trying new foods, but I’m really glad we figured that out in time!

In the end, we decided on a specialty called Bouchée à la reine, which I highly recommend! It is basically a stuffed pastry covered in a deliciously creamy sauce, we were all very impressed. It cost €18.50, but it was honestly one of the best meals that I’ve ever had and was enough food to keep us full for the entire evening.

Bouchée à la reine

One thing that you hear about Luxembourg that it is an extremely expensive city. In fact, it is the richest country in Europe! Who knew. In all of my research, I read that you couldn’t really expect to eat cheaply in Luxembourg… and I’d have to back up this consensus. The receptionist at our hostel even told us that we wouldn’t be able to find a meal cheaper than €15, and that it would be at McDonald’s. If you’re planning to come here, keep this in mind! Also, be careful about ordering water at restaurants… we ended up paying €7 for a bottle of water that gave each of us a small glass’ worth =0 Such a rip-off! Might as well have bought wine.

Nearby the restaurant is the Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg (MNHA), which was on our list of things to see but we decided not to go in. I have heard very good things about it, though, so if you have the time and you enjoy museums, give it a try.

Kaale Kaffi Shop (9 Rue de la Boucherie)

From there, we continued on towards the palace. On the way, we passed by a cute coffee shop… and caffeine was greatly appreciated after our long morning. It was probably one of the most delicious coffees I have ever tried, and also one of the most unique coffee shops which also sold vintage wares. It is called Kaale Kaffi, and is definitely worth the pick-me-up and caffeinated deliciousness.

The Palais Grand Ducal is very small, and not at all what you’d think of when you think of the richest country in the world. There weren’t gates around it, either… just one lonely looking guard keeping watch. You can’t go in, either. So it was a little anti-climactic.

What it looks like on a sunny day, Photo Cred: inzumi.com

Nearby is the Place d’Armes, a large square where young people meet up. There are many restaurants in this area, along with shops, and it’s a good place to waste some time. There weren’t too many people there on the day we went due to the rain, but I imagine it’d be lovely on a sunny day. Nearby is another square called Place Guillaume II, which is worth checking out on a nice Sunday because there is an open market.

If you’re interested in museums, there is the Musée d’Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg which has great reviews on all of the travel websites. Apparently it is state-of-the-art and very interesting. Unfortunately, my friends and I prefered to walk around and explore rather than stay inside, so I can’t vouch for this.

Going south a little further, you hit the Cathédrale Notre-Dame (no, not the big one in Paris). Like most cathedrals, it is very beautiful… but the more you travel Europe, the more these cathedrals start to blur together. By the end of our trip, my friends and I were joking that we should start a blog just about churches because we visited so many. We ended up sitting inside for a bit as a safe haven from the wind and rain… which is exactly what a church is supposed to function as, isn’t it? A safe haven?

Nearby is the Place de la Constitution, a nice square with a tall monument in the middle and topped with the statue of a girl in gold. It has lovely views of the valley and city across the way, but the wind made it really difficult for us to stop and admire it for longer.

If you continue down south a bit, you will find the Chemin de la Corniche, otherwise known as Europe’s Most Beautiful Balcony. And it lives up to it’s name. As you look around, you feel even more like you’re in the middle of a fairytale. There’s just a charming atmosphere that emanates through the entire city, and being able to see these views from above is just marvellous (even in the rain!). It is very green here, and it’s easy just to sit there and admire the views for awhile. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, a lot of construction was going on during this time… so you can see cranes in the background of a lot of these pictures.

Nearby, there is an elevator that you can take to go down to the bottom level of the city called Grund. When you exit the elevator, you walk through a small tunnel showcasing local artists. Some of them were very interesting! Others were just… weird.

At the other end of the tunnel, there are a bunch of small streets, cafes, and a lovely river cutting through it all. Not much was open on a Sunday, but we did stop at a local cafe called for a drink. It was an English bar, and the bartender was very nice. It had a cool feeling to it because one wall of the cafe was the hill-side. It is easy to find because it is the first place you find to the left when you exit the tunnel.

The Grund Neighbourhood is very beautiful and quaint, plus there’s a lot of places to pop in for a rest. Definitely worth the visit, but preferably on a nice day!

Forgive the crazy hair… the wind and rain got to it!

After seeing all of that, and stopping in yet another church to shelter us, we decided to just head in whatever direction felt right to explore what was left of the small city. We ended up coming across these strange statues in the middle of town, and couldn’t help joining in on the fun.

We wandered around some more at night, but unfortunately all of the lights and rain didn’t allow my photos to show up correctly. But here’s an idea of what beauty you can expect from the amazing Luxembourg City at night:

We didn’t end up going out to eat that night, but rather just grabbed some warm soup and a beer at our hostel. However, I had done some research on affordable places to eat that might be useful to other people:



I had also planned a half day across the river in the more industrial part of town, but we never got around to seeing it because we thought we should head to Brussels in the morning. But, from my research, I hear these are pretty nice to see as well: